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On-line personal investing.

The 1970s brought forth a new breed of brokerage firms called discount brokerage companies. These firms were popular among individuals savvy enough to make their own investment decisions. The only drawback was that most didn't offer financial support. Stock quotes and market news may have flowed freely, but advice did not. Investors had to know how to request the right information.

However, you don't have to be an investment wiz or pay one to make the most out of your investments. Thanks to a new era of on-line personal investing, your computer can help you find, manage and analyze investments.

A number of on-line services and software packages can provide you with the same kind of information that professional money managers use. Many of these programs let you access data from major financial institutions, stock exchanges and news services. You can also get market-trend information and the latest quotes on stocks, bonds, mutual funds and, in some instances, bank moneymarket accounts and certificates of deposit.

One such program that lets you gather investment information via your home computer is Signal from Santa-Mateo, Calif.-based Data Broadcasting Corp. Signal runs on IBM-compatible PCs that have at least 640 K of memory. It provides you with realtime quotes on mutual funds, commodities, stocks and stock options. Data is transmitted over the FM frequency in most major cities.

Signal costs $595 including enhanced reciever and software. For an additional fee, investors can get futures commodity prices from the Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, International Monetary Market, Commodity Exchange Corp., New York Cotton Exchange, New York Mercantile Exchange, Kansas City Board of Trade and Mid America Commodity Exchange. The program is also compatible with various financial and spreadsheet software programs, including Lotus 1-2-3 from Lotus Corp.

Dow Jones & Co. Inc. publishes a complete line of Mac and IBM-compatible software to help you buy and sell investments. The firm's Market Analyzer program is an analysis tool that can collect up to 15 years of pricing data on various securities from the Dow Jones News Retrieval. Market Manager is a customized portfolio management tool that tracks securities, creates reports and summarizes the user's investment position. Various versions of the program are available for $299 to $499.

Reality Technologies Ltd. in Philadelphia is adding to its family of personal financial planning products with Reality's Smart Investor by Money magazine. This on-line personal investing program is a DOS-based sofeware product that runs on IBM or 100% compatible computers that have at least 64D K of memory and a Hayes-compatible modern.

Smart Investor offers users customized investment guidance and access to more than 2,800 mutual funds, 4,000 certificates of deposit and money-market funds and more than 11,000 stocks and bonds on the major exchanges. It retails for $99, plus a $9.95 basic monthly usage fee. The first month of on-line membership is free.

By using your PC and a Hayes-compatible modem, you can access All Quotes, an on-line investment service from New York-based All Quotes Inc. You can get quotes on stocks, mutual funds, futures commodities, listed bonds and Treasuries for only 39 cents per minute plus exchange fees. In addition, All Quotes gives information from equity markets in Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada as well as a barrage of international futures exchanges. And it provides news from wire services such as United Press International, the Associated Press and Invest/Net to name a few.

A word of caution: These programs are not meant to be a substitute for thoroughly researched investment decisions. A number of products can deliver data to you. But you must be well-informed and understand what to do with that information before you make a financial move.

--Carolyn M. Brown; Patrick Prioleau
COPYRIGHT 1992 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:computer programs and services
Author:Prioleau, Patrick
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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